Thursday, January 26, 2012

One in a Million

This weekend we celebrated my nephew's first birthday!  Eric and Amey hosted a party at their house, and we enjoyed some lunch and all crowded around Reed to watch him inhale a piece of birthday cake!

When I loaded these pictures, they reminded me of a flip book - you know those photo books that you flip through real fast and it looks like a video?

He looks all cute and innocent, right?

The cake has arrived!  This boy is so smart - he's trained to know that when he sees the light on the camera, he needs to cheese smile.  Amey, her brother, her mom, and I were lined up taking photos, and he would smile at one camera, wait for the flash, then smile at the next camera, and so on.  He's ready for the red carpet!

He timidly touched his cake with one hand, just to test us and see if anyone would yell "Reed, no!"

When no one stopped him, he started to dig a little deeper:

Mmmmm, good!

Two-fisted cake slamming!

He demolished this slice of cake...

The aftermath:

His buddy, Dixie, took care of any last bits of icing and strawberry filling he missed:

Once he was all cleaned up he showed us his mad walking skills, aided by his Radio Flyer:

Happy Birthday Reed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Recipes Contained!

This is what my recipe collection used to look like! 

I had a little recipe book with 3x5 cards, but never got around to writing down many recipes on them. In addition to that book, I had a metal recipe box with random scraps of paper and tear sheets from magazines, notebooks full of bigger tear sheets and loose notebook paper with my chicken scratch on them. It was chaos!

For Christmas a few years ago, I put this recipe notebook on my Santa list and Dave's dad got it for me. He didn't understand why my current system wouldn't meet my needs anymore, but he bought it anyways. That's love :)

It's spiral-bound and has divided sections for appetizers, main dishes, breads, desserts, etc. so everything can be organized and in one place! Lovesit! ;)

Each page has room to document ingredients, instructions, serving size, and other details:

Fast forward like two years, it was still sitting on the shelf empty. One day I was complaining to Bonnie about how this is one of those projects that seems so big and overwhelming that you don't even want to start it.  So she offered to take it on (how awesome is that?!?) and transfer all my recipes from my multiple sources and forms into the book! Score!

For my birthday this year, she presented it to me wrapped in a fun bow - I was so excited! She included all the recipes I gave her and added some of her and her grandma's specialties :)

I think it's so awesome that she spent so much time creating this for me! I probably would have taken at least a couple more years to start the project, because I know I wouldn't have been able to do 2 or 3 recipes in a day, take a break, and do a few more the next day. I would have wanted to sit down and do the whole thing, and that time commitment would have scared me away! Welcome to my world...

Now all I have to do is add some recipes that exist only in my head, and some new ones that Dave and I have cooked up recently.

Thank you Bonnie!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to the world, Agnes!

Before Agnes was born, Sharon had multiple baby showers - at work, Joe's work, at home in Jersey, old friends - so we decided to throw both her and Agnes a party after the birth. That way all the guests can enjoy the baby during the party, and Sharon could have a nice day out with the girls! :)

Bonnie offered up her house for the party, so we took over the dining room for a brunch. We hung streamers and paper lanterns, in pink and brown, and hung a paper banner I made.
bad lighting = user error

We had a good spread of food - Ukrop's chicken salad, which may have made its last appearance at one of our parties because it's now $10 a tub!, creme puffs, fresh fruit and cool whip, croissants, quiche, deviled eggs, and of course monogrammed cupcakes!

We served our favorite punch - orange sherbet, ginger ale, and orange slices -  so good!

We also made a candy bar, using miniature cocktail glasses and trifle dishes:

We decided against traditional baby shower games because, well, they're lame. Instead we bought some onesies for everyone to decorate! This is actually easier to plan than other games, with little preparation other than pre-washing the onesies, picking up some fabric paint, and finding cardboard pieces for inside them so the paint doesn't seep to the backside.

You would think that I, having had months to think about it since I knew we planned this activity, would have known how I would decorate mine. But, no. I froze. After some whining, I decided to use her name :)

The other girls did a great job with theirs:

Lastly, Sharon opened her gifts - she and Joe had already bought all the stuff on their registry that hadn't been gifted to them before Agnes was born, so most of this was bonus stuff :)

Of course we forgot a group picture. When will we get better about that?

Monday, January 23, 2012

70 Years Young!

Dave's mom recently celebrated her 70th birthday! To celebrate the milestone, we planned a dinner at Lemaire in the Jefferson Hotel.

Dave's brother and his wife flew in from Dallas to help us celebrate - and I'm pretty sure we pulled off that part of the surprise! But while we were at dinner, Ann admitted that she knew something was going on when Dave and Marv had a super secret conversation over at their house one day. Every time Ann would go over to them to join the conversation, they'd stop talking and find an excuse to move the conversation elsewhere. Then she'd find them again, lather, rinse, repeat. Also, Christmas Day I went outside to talk about gifts and plans with Marv while he was grilling some steaks, and we just happened to be standing right under the kitchen window, where Ann was washing veggies - she thought it was odd that we were out there so long :)  OOPS!

Even though we were there after Epiphany, The Jefferson was still decorated for the holidays and it was so pretty! They had a huge tree at the bottom of the Gone with the Wind steps, so we couldn't resist posing for some photos after dinner.

After dinner we went back to the parents' house so Ann could open her gifts - we got her something she really wanted, and something she's been hoping for...a digital camera (pink!) and a basic laptop for email and internet that she can call her own!

I think Ann was a bit overwhelmed by the surprises, attention, and gifts, but it was a great night!  We'll be doing it again in July when Marv turns 75!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Inspiration: DIY Snow Globe!

Taylor Swift made a snow globe. From a Mason jar. How cool is that?

I wanted to make my own, so I googled how to do it. Apparently Taylor isn't the first girl to think of this, and she said she got the idea from Pinterest - I knew I liked her!

I went to 3 places (CVS, Hobby Lobby, and Ben Franklin) to get everything I needed to make the snow globe, although Hobby Lobby let me down:
  • gallon jug of distilled water
  • glycerin (by face washes at CVS)
  • glitter
  • bottle brush trees (59 cents on Christmas clearance!)
  • super glue
Just like my golden snitch, my iPhone ate the photos of the snow globe assembly :(, but it's pretty easy :)

I super glued the bottle brush trees (wood bases) to the lid of the jar. After a few hours, when the glue was dry, I filled the jar with water, a few drops of glycerin (slows down the glitter flow when you shake the globe), and glitter. Make sure to leave room for water displacement at the top of the jar!

I super glued around the rim of the jar, so when I put the lid on and let it dry, it would be completely sealed and no water would leak out during the shaking.  Here it is:

Notice it's not a Mason jar? I couldn't find one with a big enough mouth (that's what she said) so I used an empty jar that was collecting dust in my craft room.


Now if we can only get some actual snow!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Little Drummer Boy

Alternate Title:  Christmas number five!

On New Year's Eve, Dave and I visited my brother's family in Northern Virginia! I wanted to deliver some Christmas presents we picked up for my nephew, and I hadn't seen them since early summer - too long since they're only 2 hours away :)

Reed is one year and two days old and *this* close to walking, so we had fun watching him walk circles around their house, guided by his new Radio Flyer Walker Wagon. This thing is great - a wagon with a handle to push or pull and big grippy wheels to offer some resistance so Reed doesn't go flying across the hardwood floors! I'm not sure who got it for him, but he loves it!

After taking some laps around the house, we took it down a notch and played with his instruments - he has a little drum that came with a tambourine and egg-shaped maracas, so we tried to form a band...

...unfortunately Reed was more interested in eating the drumsticks than beating them on the drum.  It's so hard to find good talent these days! :)
Don't mind the cleavage.  BTW, this is my before picture :)

Amey and Eric gave us a framed picture of Reed - how cute is he in his little prepster outfit?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Inspiration: Golden Snitch Ornament

Dave is obsessed with Harry Potter. He has read all the books, seen all the movies, and has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to all things non-muggle.

He's trying to get me on board with his obsession. I've watched most of the movies, but I can't say I've paid attention or absorbed much information. My friends Maureen and Carrie were disappointed in my HP knowledge and challenged me during my NYC trip in the spring to read the first book before the fall semester - they knew I'd love the books, which would spark my interest in the rest of the Hogwarts world.

They were right. I started the book on a trip to the beach and finished it the next week when I was under the weather. It is so good! I get why the series is so popular - sure, it's for kids/young adults, but the story is so elaborate it sucks you in!  So now I'm dedicated to finishing the books, then re-watching the movies.

All that to say, I made Dave a golden snitch ornament inspired by one I saw on Pinterest:

I pulled a small gold bauble from our ornament box, and got all my other supplies at Hobby Lobby:

  • gold glittery cardstock
  • gold glittery puffy paint
  • rubber cement
I wish I had pictures to show how I did the wings, but my iPhone ate them. Boo. I cut two strips of the glittery card stock and glued the backs together with rubber cement to create a 2-sided glitterfest. Then I freestyle cut out each wing, using this photo as a guide.

Once my wings were ready, I used super glue to attach them to the bauble. I used super glue because it dries super fast (see what I did there?) so I wouldn't have to hold these things together for an hour while the glue dried.

Once the wings were attached to the ornament, I used the puffy paint to cover the raw edges of the paper. You could see the back sides of the paper in between the glittery sides, and the white was distracting. I also used puffy paint to create the design on the ornament. Since I'm no snitch expert, I wanted to make sure not to commit some Harry Potter faux pas while creating this!

Dave said no two snitches are alike and that I was free to design it any way I wanted.  Is that true? No two snitches are alike? I didn't know that, though unless it was in the first book, I have an excuse! :)

Here's my finished snitch ornament:

We'll have to wait until next year to display it on the tree, but I think it's festive and fun!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

North Pole Cupcakes

I wanted to bring Christmas-themed cupcakes to our Christmas dinner at Sharon and Joe's, so I (naturally) trolled Pinterest for ideas!  I found these North Pole cupcakes and knew they were the ones!

I used my basic vanilla cupcake recipe and buttercream icing, and sprinkled white cake sparkles on top to make the frosting look like glistening snow.  I broke the curved part of the candy canes off and stuck them in the frosted cupcakes, adding a red M&M on top with some extra icing.  The final touch is the North Pole sign, also attached with some icing, and you're done!

These are so cute and festive!

Spot the fail cupcake?

Check out NOLA Mommy's blog for the free North Pole sign printable!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Glamour Shotz!

While we were at the Colleluores' on our Four Christmases tour, we had a photo shoot with their baby girl, Agnes Ann!

Bonnie and I started a board on Pinterest before Agnes was born to brainstorm ideas we had for a potential baby shower,  gifts, and photo ideas we loved. We assumed Sharon would be okay with us stealing the baby to take some photos - and we were right!

Here are the photos we wanted to copy:

We gathered all the props we needed for the planned photos before we got there, and brainstormed outfits we could use. We didn't want to stress Sharon out with asking her for a ton of stuff when she was already hosting us for dinner, so we thought we should be prepared. :)

Here are our versions (courtesy of Dave Anderl Photography):
She always gets 1 arm out of the swaddle - she's a baby ninja!

She couldn't be bothered with the candy cane :)

We staged some additional shots after seeing her amazing wardrobe! This girl doesn't need any clothes until she's like 4 - entire chest of drawers full of frilly dresses, sparkly tops, and accessories galore! :)
Jersey girl praying already - starting early :)

This is her Winter Princess look :)

So fun! After the Winter Princess outfit we tried one last shot, but she was not having it!  She was fed up with us and became a total DIVA! :) She just wanted her binky and to be left alone for a while, and I can't say I blame her...